Small crab fisheries in Alaska are creating big rewards for the Alaskan economy and for the small fishing towns that litter the landscape. With an increased catch quota up 215,000 pounds from 2018 and rising prices, up 15 cents or more per pound for Alaskan king crab, the outlook is good for the dedicated boat crews who will compete for their share of the prize this season.
While this year’s quota could be reached in as little as two days, current estimates are that it will take four to six days for the quota to be reached putting an end to all the festivities. Until the next event begins. It’s not limited to king crab, though this is certainly one of the more lucrative “fishing” seasons for the Gulf of Alaska.
People from across the country come to Alaska to try their hands at crab fishing each year and a nice haul on a few days’ work. Some crews easily earning in less than a week what they would otherwise earn in a year in medium-range salaried positions. It is certainly enough money to cover a nice vacation, to help start a business, or to take a sizable chunk out of a mortgage.
What does Alaska get out of the bargain? In addition to the $245 million in taxes and fees Alaska and various municipalities collect from the fishing industry, the businesses that support fishing industries have a few days of frenzied sales surrounding fishing events for king crab, typically during lulls when demand for other types of fishing supplies or equipment is low. This means hiring additional temporary staff, increased sales, and greater security for local businesses that support the fishing industry – not to mention food and lodging to support crews as they prepare for the main event.
At the heart of it all, though, there is a focus by local crab harvesters, to sustain the resource that provides livelihoods for so many small communities throughout Alaska. This commitment is to maintaining the sustainability of Alaskan crab resources so that future generations can continue to enjoy the thrill of crabbing and the delicious concoctions made of crab, like succulent king crab legs and more. That is why the quotes are in place that make participating in various crab events feel more like a modern day gold rush to some. And the state of Alaska is the big winner in it all.